Kylie Bennet, daughter of Jeremy and Hillary Bennett, is a 7th grade student at St. Mary’s Catholic School. She recently won first place at her school’s science fair for an experiment she conducted to test the quality of the drinking water in Natchitoches.
Out of four cities she tested the water from, Natchitoches ranked second best for overall quality behind Baton Rouge. Austin and Houston were ranked at the bottom.
Kylie was becoming increasingly concerned about the amount of people she and her parents knew that had cancer in Natchitoches. She’d also noticed a smell coming from the water. Interested in testing the water quality, Kylie’s mother reached out to a close childhood friend in Washington who tests water quality for a living. He gave them tips on performing the experiment and which test kit they should use.
After acquiring a testing kit, Kylie called her uncles in Austin and Houston and visited Baton Rouge to get water samples. She tested for pH, level of carcinogens and overall quality.
Through the project, Kylie discovered that the smell from the Natchitoches water is from an algae that grows in Sibley Lake. During the summer months, when the water heats up, it caused the smell to worsen. This smell can be combated by treating the water with chlorine or chlorine derivatives.
Houston’s water tested positive for hexavalent chromium. Ingestion of this chemical through drinking water has been found to cause cancer in the oral cavity and small intestine.
Science is Kylie’s favorite subject and her dream is to attend Rice University and then Texas A&M for Vet School. She wants to major in molecular biology or neuroscience.